Letters for November 10, 2011

Letter of the week
Business parking first

Re “Sheedy’s question” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, November 3):

Thank you to Cosmo Garvin for his comprehensive discussion of the near-hysterical reaction to Sandy Sheedy’s poll. In politics, the person who tells the truth is often the target of criticism.

There is an irony in this eagerness to lease city parking for 50 years and give the revenues to the arena developers because local merchants have needed relief from parking fees for decades. I was agency counsel to the Sacramento Redevelopment and Housing Agency from 1983-1986. At that time, and probably before that, merchants in Old Sacramento and the K Street Mall urged the city to provide free parking near their businesses because customers were drawn to suburban shopping areas by free parking. Their requests were repeatedly rejected.

Despite millions spent in redevelopment funds, Old Sacramento and K Street Mall merchants continue to struggle and Westfield Mall, with a limited parking validation program, is nearly vacant. If the city council wants to give up parking revenue, why not help existing merchants and business owners?

I hope SN&R will investigate this revenue giveaway plan in more depth, along with other disadvantages of burdening local parking facilities on game nights (e.g., where will restaurant and club patrons park on game nights?).

Jennifer Soloway

Here comes rain

Re “Our third river” by Jeff Ewing (SN&R Feature, November 3):

A very interesting article by Jeff Ewing, who certainly must be one of our best local writers. I am an engineer who is involved with flood control from time to time, and I have lived in the area as a practicing engineer for 40 years. This article is accurate, well researched, easily followed by the novice and interesting to flood-control professionals. We tend to forget about things like flood control until the heavy rains come, and this article will undoubtedly impress many with how vital our flood-protection system is to the California Central Valley. Well done SN&R and Jeff Ewing!

Kit Burton

Keep it real

Re “Sheedy’s question” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, November 3):

That’s what I’m talking about! This is the best darn piece I’ve read on this subject. Thank you for telling it like it is and keeping it real.

Rhonda Erwin

Another bad idea

Re “Sheedy’s question” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, November 3):

This idea is despicable.

In a time of severe budget shortages when public services are being reduced or eliminated, what do we, the public, get in exchange for financing a place for millionaires to play? More traffic congestion, higher parking fees, etc.?

Yes, it would help some businesses, primarily hotels and restaurants in the general vicinity, and would add a few jobs, but that puts nothing back into my/our pockets for our investment or improve our quality of life. Once again, it helps the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

George Selkirk

About miracle claims

Re “Big but not easy” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, October 27):

In his column, Jeff vonKaenel discusses his Chamber of Commerce visit to New Orleans. He mentions being impressed with many of the things the city has accomplished since Hurricane Katrina, including a “remarkable transformation of the school system.” He cites a “dramatic increase in test scores” due to the influx of new teachers and the majority of schools being converted into (privately run) charter schools.

Unfortunately, miracle claims should not always be believed. The fact is that the Recovery School District (which has abandoned collective bargaining agreements with teacher’s unions) is still one of the lowest performing school districts in Louisiana. It is ranked 69th out of 70 districts in the state. Superintendent John White has exaggerated a statistic to his advantage, and other politicians are eager to use New Orleans as their poster child to push their agenda of making teachers the scapegoats of all that is wrong in education, while promoting the eradication of unions and increasing private charter schools as the answer.

Even if the dramatic increase in test scores were true, Mr. vonKaenel needs to question whether or not that indicates meaningful learning or an increase in test prep and therefore a narrowing of curriculum.

Jodie Ross

Looking for a green graveyard?

Re “Grave pursuits” by Hugh Biggar (SN&R Green Days, October 27):

As one of the few providers of natural caskets (made out of sustainably grown products such as banana, sea grass [in paddy fields] and rattan) on the West Coast, I am happy to provide this service to anyone interested in having a natural burial. There are three sites in California, and it sounds as though the one in Davis I heard about three years ago is now ready for use.

All those interested in knowing more about getting involved in establishing a natural burial site and or helping educate the public, please contact me and visit my website www.finalfootprint.com.

Jane Hillhouse
El Granada

Gay support for mayor

Re “‘Out’ in City Hall: Does it matter?” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cut&Paste, October 27):

Just to be clear, Mayor Kevin Johnson strongly opposed Proposition 8 during his campaign for mayor. I know, since I introduced him at the press conference where he announced his opposition, and because I read his statement opposing the measure at a unity press conference with other Proposition 8 opponents. The mayor’s stand was particularly courageous in 2008, as many African-American leaders did not speak out against the measure.

As mayor, Kevin Johnson also voted with the majority on the city council to support Sacramento’s effort to join other cities to overturn Proposition 8 in court. That’s why I and many other members of Sacramento’s GLBT community strongly support the mayor in his re-election bid.

Stuart Eldridge

Lovin’ the win-win

Re “Horse power” by Shoka (SN&R 15 Minutes, October 27):

Thank you for publishing this story. Julie McBride is doing amazing work with children and adults.

It is wonderful to know that horses that have been abused and rescued have a role in working and bonding with Julie’s clients. Sounds like a classic win-win situation!

Barbara Marino
via email

The gang with badges

Re “The new face of Sacramento gangs” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Feature, October 20):

It would appear that the biggest threat we have to public safety is not the gangs you reference but the police department and the rogue police who are protected behind their badges/heads of the department. And internal affairs—that’s a joke.

We are heading into a dangerous time, and depending on the police department may get you killed, and not because of any gangs that you are talking about.

Genesther Taylor